Global Marketing

Common Global Marketing Strategy Mistakes

Global Marketing is Hard

Marketing on a global scale is no simple task. Even some of the most well known and capable companies in the world have suffered from failed global marketing strategies. Below I am going to analyze 5 of the most common mistakes companies have in their global marketing strategies.

  • Not Specifying Markets – Often when expanding to a new market, companies will group areas into broad regional markets such as “Europe” or “Asia” and this can be very costly. When markets are broad like this, often the cultural diversity in those regions is underestimated. People identify at a national level and most countries have their own currency, laws, culture, and business practices. Companies must break up their market segments into specific countries and have specific goals and do specific market research for each country's market so that they can truly understand who they are selling to and how to position their product in a way that drives success in each country they operate in.
  • Forgetting About the Internal Side of Things – When companies are planning a global expansion, there is so much to consider from who you will be competing with to how you will get your product in the hands of the consumer, that it can be easy to forget about everything else going on in the company. Often when companies have a heavy focus on global expansion, they get so distracted that their operations and quality of service back at home often begin to suffer. Such can be said for companies such as OYO. It is important to remember what put the company in this position in the first place while devising a global marketing strategy.
  • Not Adapting Product to New Markets – Many companies have one main product that makes up a large portion of their sales. This same product in a different market may have zero sales because they are selling their product to two different markets who have different customers with different preferences. Software, for example, may have a major market in one country, but another country they market to may not have much experience with the product so they need a more basic version.
  • Not Including Locals on Global Marketing Team – No one knows a market better than a local. Companies who fail to include locals on the global marketing plan often have issues with relating to locals or things get lost in translation. There is nothing worse than having a mixup such as Ford introducing the Pinto to Brazil, or as they know it as “men with small genitals.” Yikes. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to include true market experts on the global marketing team. It could save a great deal of embarrassment and it could greatly benefit the marketing success in new markets.
  • Not Adjusting Marketing Channels – Companies who attack new markets with the same plan they had in their domestic market are either in trouble or about to be in trouble. The way that the West conducts business is not the same as everywhere else in the world. For example, some countries place a significant cultural emphasis on relationships. An American company cannot just arrive to every country for a business partnership, have their two meetings and leave. Additionally, different countries communicate in different ways and different modes of communication are used all over the world, resulting in a necessity for unique use of marketing channels in every country that a company enters.

Global Marketing

The International Marketing Environment

With the increase of globalization around the world, organizations in almost every country have deemed it necessary and important to start operating on an international scale in hopes of increasing profits and brand awareness. Although it has become easier for companies to tap into foreign markets (with the development of technology and other resources) they still have to make crucial marketing decisions when entering into these markets and international environments in general.

If your company is in the process of deciding whether or not it wants to push into an international marketing environment, it must first be aware of and address the various underlying factors that will affect its business in this new environment. Failure to do so can result in project or company failure. These factors within an international marketing environment include:

  • The Political Environment ( How stable is the target country? Is there social unrest or active terrorism? What type of political framework does this country operate around? Will operating in this country affect trade? Etc. )
  • The Social/Cultural Environment ( What language does the population speak? Is your company sure that its products or services do not mean something different in the country's native language? **More on this below**… Do your products or services align with the values of the target population? Do you know how business deals operate in this particular country? How will the colors and images in your products and advertising resonate with the target population and will they have a negative reaction to them? Etc. )
  • The Economic Environment ( What is the economic situation within the country and can consumers afford your products or services? Does the country impose tariffs and how will this affect your prices? Does the government directly support local business, as Japan does for local rice farmers, and will this make it difficult for you to compete? What is the exchange rate between your domestic currency and this foreign currency? Etc. )
  • The Technological Environment ( How developed is the technological infrastructure in this country and can it support your business? Does the population have access to technology or even electricity? What are the costs associated with setting up your business' infrastructure? Is transportation available? Is there opportunity for local workers to be trained to use your technology or will your company send domestic employees to work? Etc. )

Of course, this list is not all-inclusive, but it is enough to adequately stimulate the minds of top-level executives and potentially reduce their chances of failure when entering into an international marketing environment…

As previously mentioned, it is very important that your company's products, services or brand do not mean something completely different in a foreign country/language, especially countries in which you hope to do business. This article does a great job of outlining the 20 “greatest fails” by companies in regards to this topic!

In conclusion, the international marketing environment can be tricky to navigate as there are many factors that can potentially affect the success of your business operations in a foreign market. However, if your company chooses to address the key points above and take initiative in answering those types of questions, then the sky is the limit!